Uniform Law on Notarial Acts

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RULONA Introduced in Georgia, Montana and Vermont
Copyright, American Society of Notaries  |  Published February 23, 2015
The legislative bodies in three states now have the opportunity to consider adoption of the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA). 

Georgia’s House Bill 381, Montana’s Senate Bill 306, and Vermont’s House Bill 206 each would substantially amend existing notary law in favor of RULONA’s treatment of key issues such as authorized notarial duties, electronic records and electronic notarial acts, the notary’s official seal, recordkeeping, and more.

(Please note: these legislative measures are PROPOSED, not enacted.)

RULONA was drafted, finalized and approved by the Uniform Law Commission, which exists to “provide states with non-partisan, well-conceived and well-drafted legislation that brings clarity and stability to critical areas of state statutory law.” (Visit www.uniformlaws.org; see “About ULC.”) RULONA is one of the ULC’s many uniform laws offered for state adoption, in order to promote uniformity among states in their treatment of shared issues such as commissioning and regulation of notaries public.

At this time (February 2015), five states have adopted RULONA: Iowa, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The RULONA introductions in Georgia, Montana and Vermont are very recent, so much legislative action remains before these may win enactment.

American Society of Notaries participated in the RULONA drafting process as an observer, offering our thoughts and feedback over the many months that ULC commissioners hammered out the details of the law. (See ASN’s letter of support for the final adopted Act: http://uniformlaws.org/Shared/Docs/RULONA%20ASN%20Support%20Letter.pdf )

 Questions? Comments?  Email support@asnnotary.org

 
NCCUSL Drafting Committee Continues Work on Rewrite of Uniform Law on Notarial Acts
American Notary, 2008-#5 and 6 DOUBLE ISSUE

You will recall, from a previous ASN report, that the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law (NCCUSL) authorized the review and re-draft of the Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (ULONA) in late 2007. Since that time, there have been multiple phone conferences, several drafts, and two committee meetings. The anticipated project timeline is approximately two years.

A recent meeting of the Drafting Committee in Chicago offered ASN's Executive Director Kathleen Butler (participating as an Observer) a first-hand look at the exacting work of redrafting a uniform law.

Butler describes what, in her words, is an "amazing, collaborative process" of discussion, debate and consensus.

"Imagine a room filled with experts from the fields of law, notarial practice, technology and government. Before each person is a proposed draft of the Uniform Law on Notarial Acts. Each section, each line, each word is reviewed for effectiveness and relevance. Everyone's opinion is valued, and everyone gets the opportunity to participate," Butler said.

Discussion is intended to create agreement, or at least guidance, on policy issues including notary applicant qualifications and education, authorized notarial duties, surety bond, stamp/seal requirements and security, acceptable identification documents, grounds for commission revocation, unlicensed practice of law and advertising, electronic notarization, and more. The Drafting Committee "reporter" (see description at right) then reflects those policy decisions in his written draft of the uniform law language.

A big question answered at the Chicago meeting was whether the Drafting Committee would proceed with a uniform law draft whose provisions addressed paper and electronic notarizations simultaneously ("unified" draft), or whether the logistics of working in a paper versus electronic environment would require e-notarization provisions to be carved out and handled separately from paper notarizations ("bifurcated" draft). Commissioners agreed that in principle, the fundamentals of notarization apply no matter the medium (paper or electronic) and ultimately decided oon the "unified" draft approach.

The next steps include circulation and discussion of the revised draft resulting from the Chicago meeting. Once the Committee signs off on its ULONA rewrite language, the draft will undergo presentation and a line-by-line reading, including debate, before the Uniform Law Commissioners attending the ULC Annual Meeting. It is in this venue that the final Uniform Law will be approved. Then, the newly revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts will be offered to the states for voluntary adoption, in whole or in part.

The current version of ULONA was approved by NCCUSL in 1982. It has since been adopted by just twelve states, meaning that issues common to all notaries, such as authorized duties, commission qualifications, definitions, etc. continue to be addressed diversely across state lines. The current ULONA is also silent on issues that have evolved significantly in recent years (e-notarization, for example) another factor that led to the decision to redraft the law.

 Questions, comments on this Hot Tip?  Email support@asnnotary.org

 
ULONA Rewrite-Key Participants
American Notary, 2008-#5 and 6 DOUBLE ISSUE

Uniform Law Commissioners:  Members of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL), serving on a drafting committee to create or revise a uniform law. Uniform Law Commissioners must be lawyers, qualified to practice law. They are lawyer-legislators, attorneys in private practice, state and federal judges, law professors, and legislative staff attorneys, who have been appointed by state governments as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to research, draft and promote enactment of uniform state laws in areas where uniformity is desirable and practical.

Reporter:  The individual responsible for creating the actual draft language, based on deliberations and comments of the committee and other participants. Usually a law professor with expertise in the subject matter.

Advisors:  A representative or representatives of the American Bar Association.

Observers:  All other parties (everyone is welcome) with an interest in the ULONA rewrite, particularly representatives of state government/notary public divisions, county clerks and recorders, and private entities such as notary membership associations (ASN) and suppliers such as e-notarization vendors and notary bond/E&O underwriters.

 Questions, comments on this Hot Tip?  Email support@asnnotary.org

 
Uniform Law on Notarial Acts Slated for Review, Update
American Notary, Issue 2007-#2

The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law (NCCUSL) has just announced authorization of a committee to review and re-draft the Uniform Law on Notarial Acts, or ULONA. 

NCCUSL is a non-profit, unincorporated association that has worked for the uniformity of state laws since 1892. NCCUSL researches, drafts and promotes enactment of uniform state laws for areas of law where uniformity is desirable and practical. State legislatures can choose whether or not to adopt a uniform law.

ULONA was approved by NCCUSL in 1982. It has since been adopted by just eleven states, meaning that issues common to all notaries, such as authorized duties, commissioning procedures, definitions, etc. continue to be addressed diversely across state lines. In addition, ULONA as approved in 1982 does not address e-notarization, which has evolved significantly to the point that several states now have active, e-notarization initiatives.

The NCCUSL Committee (“Drafting Committee”) charged with developing a new draft of ULONA will address law governing the responsibilities of notaries, notarization in the electronic environment, interstate recognition of notarial acts, and remedies. The process is lengthy (at least two years of meetings and debate over the draft) but inclusive. NCCUSL drafting meetings are open to the public, with all attendees encouraged to participate in any discussion. ASN can be counted upon to lend its views to this auspicious undertaking.

For more information about NCCUSL, visit www.nccusl.org. To access the current version of ULONA, visit: http://www.law.upenn.edu/bll/archives/ulc/fnact99/1980s/ulna82.htm.

Questions, comments on this Hot Tip?  Email support@asnnotary.org

 

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